Most news organizations, when covering a press briefing, treat what is said by the person in the briefing as news. WorldNetDaily, however, is more concerned about whether its "reporter" gets to ask questions.
Thus, WND's coverage of White House press briefings is totally centered around whether Les Kinsolving is called on. Such is the case in a July 13 article complaining that Kinsolving, "WND's correspondent at the White House and the second most senior reporter on the beat, was bypassed today at the daily news briefing with press secretary Robert Gibbs."
This descended into a third-person view of the situation: "Kinsolving, who has been at the post since he began covering the executive branch during the Nixon administration, reports that he has been excluded from daily access to the White House more under President Obama's spokesman, Gibbs, than during the tenures of any of the 14 other press secretaries with whom he has worked." Who did Kinsolving say this to? Why is he unable to report this himself?
The answer is that Kinsolving is not, in fact, a "reporter." As Eric Boehlert has noted, Kinsolving is a radio host who pushes right-wing talking points masquerading as questions. He hasn't done any real reporting in years and certainly doesn't do any for WND, where his byline appears only on an opinion column.
WND helpfully serves up the questions Kinsolving would have asked, which only proves the point that Kinsolving isn't interested in actual reporting:
Kinsolving was prepared to ask: "Does the president think it was right -- or wrong -- for the authors of Medicare to exempt Congress?" and "Does the president agree or disagree with officials of the Health and Human Services agency advisory committee on blood safety and availability, who in a 9-6 vote decided against allowing MSM (men who have sex with men) to donate blood?"
As Boehlert pointed out, Kinsolving is similar to Helen Thomas in that they are both opinion-based writers and not actual reporters. While WND has repeatedly demanded that Kinsolving be accorded respect for being "the second most senior reporter" in the White House briefing room, it offered no such respect to Thomas; for instance, when the syndicator of Ann Coulter's column eliminated a description of Thomas as an "old Arab," WND restored it.
Meanwhile, WND launched a hissy fit -- well, more to the point, a lawsuit -- over not getting as many seats as it demanded for the White House Correspondents Dinner. WND claimed it "needed three tables in order to bring its personnel and distinguished guests to the event, [to honor] Les Kinsolving's tenure as a distinguished White House correspondent, and his daughter, Kathleen Kinsolving Willmann, has just written a book about his career, entitled 'Gadfly.' " When WND didn't get what it wanted, Joseph Farah took his ball and went home and wouldn't even allow Kinsolving to attend.
Boehlert and others have noted that an offensive comment by Thomas caused her to hastily give up her seat in the briefing room, while Kinsolving makes similarly outrageous comments -- like promoting birther conspiracy theories -- without any apparent repercussion, let alone cries for him to lose his press pass.
Neither Kinsolving nor WND seem to have put two and two together -- that it's questions like those (not to mention WND's vehemently anti-Obama agenda) that keep him and his employer from being taken seriously by Gibbs. Or, indeed, anyone else.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)